COVID-19 Update 21 December 2020

COVID-19 Update 21 December 2020
Residents and visitors to Northern NSW are being urged to take strict COVID-safe precautions and keep up to date with the changing public health directions in response to the current outbreak.

Anyone in NSW with even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, is asked to come forward immediately for testing, then isolate until they receive a negative result.

“For anyone visiting our region, don’t skip getting tested for COVID-19 this festive season, just because you may be away from home. If you feel unwell, get tested immediately,” Wayne Jones, Chief Executive Northern NSW Local Health District, said.
“Our health services are continuing to monitor the situation, and are involved in daily planning discussions around staffing levels over the Christmas period. This also includes staffing requirements to screen incoming travellers at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, which has started today.”

Testing rates
Across the Northern NSW Local Health District we have seen a sharp rise in the number of people coming forward for testing over the last week, and in particular this weekend.
Over the last four days our hospital testing clinics conducted 1348 tests, on top of more than 1,100 tests done across the District in the week prior, ending 16 December.

‘Almost 50 percent of the people presenting for testing in recent days in our hospital clinics have been residents from the Northern Beaches in Sydney, with the majority of these coming through our Lismore and Byron Bay testing clinics,” Mr Jones said.
Coming forward for testing is a key method for us continue to monitor and reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease in the community.
Thank you to everyone, both residents and visitors, who has come forward for testing so far. Since the pandemic began, there have been more than 87,000 tests done across the District.

Public Health Orders for Northern Beaches residents

Under the current ‘Stay at Home’ orders in place, issued on Saturday 19 December for residents of the Northern Beaches LGA, residents are required to stay at home, unless permitted to leave for certain reasons.

These restrictions also apply to any residents of the Northern Beaches LGA who left the area on or since Thursday 10 December 2020 and may be in the Northern NSW region or other areas of NSW.

Acceptable reasons for leaving home include shopping for food and other essential goods and services; travelling to work or an educational institution if working or studying from home is not possible; exercising; seeking medical care; providing carer’s responsibilities and meeting compassionate needs. It is strongly recommended masks are worn when leaving isolation for these permitted reasons.

The health orders are available on the NSW Government website.

Local case numbers

There have been no new confirmed cases of locally acquired COVID-19 reported in Northern NSW Local Health District residents since 25 July, 150 days ago. Of the 62 cases recorded among residents, 58 are considered to have recovered.

NNSWLHD cases by likely source of infection:

Source Total
Overseas or interstate acquired 57
Locally acquired – contact of a confirmed case or in a known cluster 4
Locally acquired – source not identified 1
Under investigation 0


To help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • If you are unwell, get tested and isolate right away – don’t delay. Remain isolated until you receive your test result.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Take hand sanitiser with you when you go out.
  • Keep your distance. Leave 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
  • Wear a mask when using public transport, rideshares and taxis, and in shops, places of worship and other places where you can’t physically distance. When taking taxis or rideshares, commuters should sit in the back.

To find your nearest testing clinic visit or contact your GP.

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